Salute The Badge: Amarillo Police Captain makes history

Elizabeth Brown was promoted to the rank of Captain in January of 2016. Brown is the first female officer in Amarillo to reach the rank of Captain. (Photo: Amarillo Police Department)

It has been one year since Elizabeth Brown, a Canyon native, made history.

In January of 2016, then Lt. Brown was promoted to Captain of the Uniform Division of the Amarillo Police Department, the first female in the history of the force to receive the rank.

“This first year has been really exciting. A new vision, a new direction, a new energy in our department," Capt. Brown said.

That new energy could be attributed to Brown. She is enthusiastic and optimistic when she speaks about the future of the Department.

"We have some exciting things in store and are figuring out a better way to serve our community," Capt. Brown said.

She began serving the folks of Amarillo in 2000, joining APD as a civilian, a 9-1-1 operator.

“It was completely a God thing. It just happened by chance. I was working at one of the pools and we were having problems with some of the patrons, so we hired a police officer to have a presence." Brown said.

That officer told her APD was hiring 911 dispatchers.

"I thought, wow, what a glamorous job that would be. So I just left aquatics and came to 911 and this was just God’s plan for me. This was just fate.”

As a dispatcher, one of her duties was to ride along with an officer.

"I was able to get out there and experience what happens on the other side of the telephone and I just knew that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to help people. That's when I fell in love with law enforcement."

Two years later she joined Amarillo's Police Academy. A natural leader (as a recruit while in the Academy, she was voted vice-president of the group), she has moved up the ranks in her 17 years of service.

“I felt like my leadership journey actually began in the Academy," Brown said. “Leadership has always been a comfortable place for me. I like being part of the solution, not part of the problem. What I want to do is get in there and make things better. I want to be the person who is an advocate for change and be the one looking for what’s next.”

She spent eight years patrolling Amarillo's streets.

“I spent the majority of my time on the east side on evenings, so that’s always felt like my home for me," Brown said.

Brown was promoted to Sergeant and then became the Department’s third woman to reach the rank of Lieutenant and the first female shift commander.

Through those years Brown has investigated financial crimes and has overseen the Special Victims Unit.

“Special Victims is a very challenging Unit but it’s also one of the most rewarding units because you can be a true advocate for those victims and those children that sometimes don’t have anybody else to speak for them. You get to get in there and make a difference and it’s a very fulfilling role.”

But it was early on in her career she took on another role and became a wife when she met a man who also serves and protects.

“I met my husband because we were actually short patrol cars, so I was on the east side of town and he rode the south side of town."

They were directed to share the car.

"A south-sider met up with an east-sider and I would have never talked to him otherwise," Brown joked.

Captain Brown and APD Sergeant Wes Brown have two children.

“My kids think it’s great because they know mommy and daddy are here to keep people safe and to make a difference.”

She credits her success to God's plan. She speaks often of her faith and of her family at the Department.

“We are brothers and sisters in blue, we take care of one another. We love our citizens," Brown said.

Brown was recently honored with a Career Achievement Award from the Amarillo Women's Network.

"Our level of service is reaching a level of excellence that we’ve never seen before so this is a great time to be here.”

For her service to the citizens of Amarillo, moving up the ranks, making history and keeping Amarillo safe, ABC 7 Salutes Captain Elizabeth Brown of the Amarillo Police Department.

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